Saint Mary’s Cathedral Rubaga, commonly referred to as Rubaga (Lubaga) Cathedral, is the parent cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda.
The current cathedral is the seventh to occupy the Rubaga hill. Between 1891 and 1914 when the construction of the current Cathedral began, the hill had sheltered six older “cathedrals” which unfortunately all disappeared under different circumstances.
The present church, a real cathedral in the true sense of the word and status was completed in 1924. Construction took 10 years.
This church has got an interesting history! The hill where the cathedral is located was once a palace for Buganda’s Kabaka Muteesa i. When Mutesa i died and his son Mwanga ii succeeded him, the later shifted the official palace to Mengo and later generously donated Lubaga hill to the catholic missionaries. This is the exact place where catholic headquarters were constructed. In a twist of events, Kabaka Mwanga’s actions were rather contrary to what he used to support and believe in. He is the same man who ordered for the killing of the Uganda Martyrs.
No doubt, you must be puzzled as to why the same Mwanga who donated land to the first Catholics in Uganda, ordered for the killing of the catholic holly men. Yes, it happened, get to know more of this history while on Adventure Consults’ Kampala city tour and see next section about Uganda Martyrs shrine-Namugongo.
Everything about this magnificent cathedral has got a special story; from the Roman architecture that was adopted from France, the great altar of Muvule tree that took two years to complete. The cathedral’s bells were a gift from France. The Cathedral ceiling is made of molded metal sheets bought from London, while the first glass windows were installed by Bishop Edward Michaud, who died on June 18 1945, and was buried inside the Cathedral. The popular giant Virgin Mary statue overlooking the city of Kampala was brought all the way from Italy.
The cathedral houses the remains of the late Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka, the first African Catholic Bishop and the first African Archbishop of Kampala Diocese,
Make Lubaga cathedral part of your city tour for a very special religious, cultural and historical experience.